The country star, on his 17 th album since 1994, has a new direction and strong things to say about the way our digital culture has changed human interaction
Like any big music starring, Kenny Chesney is used to people reaching out to shake his hand from the front rows of his stadium demonstrates. But he hasnt forgotten the woman in New Jersey last summer who clasped her hands in his, depicted him close, but never looked at him once. She was looking at her telephone, he recollects. She was so lost in the noise of it all, she missed the human connection. It was sad.
A risk of success is the cheapening of the message, and sometimes the messenger. Which is why on Cosmic Hallelujah, his 17 th album, Chesney moves another step closer to transforming his role as one of mainstream countrys most enduring superstars to an artist freshly invested in both challenging himself and pushing his audience his fans are known as the No Shoes Nation even if they are fine with the way things are. Chesney is 48 and while the world has certainly changed since 1999, where reference is released She Thinks My Tractors Sexy, hes changed along with it.
Theres more to my life than escapism, he says. I love that part of my life, but it is more important now to talk about other things. Its where I am at right now.
Cosmic Hallelujah is the album destined to grow his audience, although with 28 No 1 records on the country chart, he hasnt precisely underserved them. But Americana fans would find much to admire here through songs like Jesus and Elvis, a bittersweet narrative told with traditional country elements and featuring his finest singing in years. And while anthems like Bucket and Bar at the Objective of the World are assured gravies for his blockbuster live demonstrates, Hallelujah also attains space for more thoughtful material that reflect both the anxiety of the times and the determination to move through it.
The centerpiece is Noise, the albums first single, which blasts through the digital overload of daily life. The lyrics appeared like a inundate and, with songwriters Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally and Jon Nite, Chesney crafted a dramatic treatise on the possibility we are becoming numb to intimacy. Unlike other sungs that tackle the same subject, Noise is less ripped from the headlines and more from his own personal diary. I felt it was affecting my creativity and my personal relationships, he says of the onslaught of 24/7 connectivity. I felt I was texting I love you instead of telling people I loved them.
Unplugging now translates to leaving the cellphone off the table during dinners. But Chesney has the unique perspective of insuring just how immersed people have become in removing themselves from the present moment where reference is appears out from the stage of a football stadium and watches 50,000 people gazing back at him through their screens.
Its very frustrating, any entertainer will tell you they dislike it, he says. Especially for me I want to look at everybody straight in the eye and stimulate them feel something and its really hard to do that if theyre not looking at you but theyre looking at their telephone. Theyre missing the connection and taking fragments home with them. Its like looking at a bookshelf of books but you dont read any of them, you simply read a little bit of each.
Read more: www.theguardian.com